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How often do we have the opportunity to be completely misunderstood? And the worst part is that no matter what our intention was, it might have been our words or actions that were misinterpreted. Hopefully this is not a frequent occurrence, but when it happens, it can be very stressful and so upsetting, especially when our hearts were in the right place. So how do we stop from reacting instantaneously, blaming, pointing fingers and lashing out at others in order to defend ourselves?
Always remembering that "we all have our story," seems to be a good start to creating space for deeper understanding. Self-reflection and taking responsibility for our part in the misunderstanding helps, but there will be times, that even despite best efforts in communication, difficulties will persist. You won't be understood and no matter what you say, you could still be wrongly judged.
Whenever you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation, and you've done everything you can to resolve it, you have choices to make. Most of the time we fight the discomfort, telling ourselves some kind of insular narrative that makes us seem like we're in the right. It's easier this way. The problem is that it makes the other person wrong. The truth, as we know, is somewhere in between, and the healthier way to deal with an unwinnable situation is to learn to let go. Not let go of the relationship, but of the outcome of the misunderstanding. Others will always have their opinions and it can be a full time occupation to attempt to change them. Try letting things be. Over time, when emotions are calmer, it may be okay to re-address the effort to make resolution, but until then, stepping back to see the bigger picture will give you greater understanding.
Hoping, wanting and eventually gaining peace in a situation always begins with introspection and forgiveness of everyone involved and especially ourselves. Healing is a process that is rooted in awareness. Once our eyes are opened, we see that every problem can become another step in our personal evolution and eventually become grateful for our challenges. This is not an initial reaction or an easy task, but one that grows with practice.
Buddhist Monk and teacher, Sheng Yen, (1931-2009) spoke of uplifting the character of humanity: "I follow four dictates: face it, accept it, deal with it, then let it go." Sounds simple, but you need to be willing to let go of wanting to be right and/or needing to be understood, in order to even consider these directives.
Imagine releasing all the stuff that bogs you down and see how much lighter you feel. Disagreements and misunderstandings are part of daily life; making an effort to rise above and approach them in a different way is what leads to happiness and peace. It always helps to affirm how you want to feel, how you want to think: My mantra for today is, "I choose to forgive… myself included." Join me if you can relate!
AMY MARTIN, IS THE OWNER AND DIRECTOR OF CENTER OF HEALING THERAPIES IN WATERFORD. SHE CAN BE REACHED AT (860) 443-0800 OR BY EMAIL AT AMYMARTIN@TIME4HEALING.COM